You’re in your mid to late twenties and starting to see more and more friends married off. All the while you’re alone and contemplating what sad avenue to take for dinner: Subway or microwavable. After all, it’s just food and wouldn’t your money be better spent on fun and booze once the weekend rolls around? Truth is buying real food from the grocery store and cooking for yourself will ultimately save you money and make you healthier. So take the plunge into adulthood and indulge in some kitchen essentials now.

  • Knives
    • Screw the whole over-priced 12-piece sets. You really only need a chef’s knife (8-10in), a pairing knife, bread knife, & a slicing knife.
  • Peeler
    • May not seem essential to your kitchen and if you’re from that school a thought does adding fresh orange peel to your Manhattan change your mind?
  • Pots & Pans
    • Cast Iron Skillet
      • This is one of those amazing universal kitchen tools that just get better with time. Literally can be used for everything including sautéing, roasting, baking. It holds its quality with each use instead of scratching or degrading over time like non-stick pans.
    • Standard Pots & Pans
      • No need to go crazy with these. It’s best to have one or two sauce pans for sauces/soups and small batch things (1-2 qt) Skillets of varying sizes for the times you don’t want to use the cast iron (9 or 10in).
  • Spoons & Spatulas
    • Wooden spoons.
    • Rubber spatulas.
  •  Colander
    • This is used for more than just draining pasta… cleaning fruits, veggies, draining/straining.
  • Cutting Board
    • Plastic
      • They’re dishwasher safe, can be bleached if necessary, sturdy and won’t damage knives. Avoid the ones with all the bells and whistles like drip gutters and pull-out trays, they have a tendency to just make things more difficult.
  • Baking Sheet
    • Not only for pizza, but great for catching drips from roasts and things so your oven doesn’t become a complete mess.
  • Cork Screw
    • You don’t have one of these already?
  • Can Opener
    • Self-explanatory.
  • Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls
    • Grab at least two different sized ones – get the nesting ones for better storage.
  • Oven Mitts
    • Because you’ve seen all the places that dishtowel hanging on the oven door has been.

Pro-Tip: Find some engaged friends who have been living together. They’ll undoubtedly be getting new kitchen staples as wedding gifts and be looking to clear out the old.